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Environmental Values

Nonhuman Animals as Property Holders: An Exploration of the Lockean Labour-Mixing Account

Josh Milburn

Environmental Values 26 (2017): 629-648. doi: 10.3197/096327117X15002190708155

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Recent proposals in political philosophy concerning nonhuman animals as property-holders - by John Hadley and Steve Cooke - have focused on the interests that nonhuman animals have in access to and use of their territories. The possibility that such rights might be grounded on the basis of a Lockean (that is, labour-mixing) account of property has been rejected. In this paper, I explore four criticisms of Lockean property rights for nonhuman animals - concerning self-ownership, initiative, exertion and the sufficiency of protection offered - concluding that Lockean property rights could be extended to nonhuman animals. I then suggest that Lockean property rights actually offer advantages over interest-based accounts: they more clearly ground property, they are potentially broader, and they are considerably stronger.


Animal ethics, animal rights, property, labour, John Locke

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Animal Kingdoms: On Habitat Rights for Wild Animals. Steve Cooke

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Conflict and Resolution. Simon P. James

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